Frankfurt - If Alfa Romeo's boss were to have one wish, it would be to bring the Duetto, Dustin Hoffman's car in the 1967 film classic The Graduate, back on the road.
"That would be my dream," Antonio Baravalle, chief executive
of the Italian sportscar maker, told Reuters at Frankfurt's
international autoshow. "Small, compact, very low, only for two
people - exactly like the Duetto was back then."
Launched in 1966, the convertible gained notoriety a year later when it appeared in the film about Benjamin Braddock, a confused young man played by US actor Hoffman.
The Duetto later went through a number of upgrades until it
went out of production in 1994.
With Alfa Romeo's 100th anniversary coming up in 2010,
Baravalle said he liked the idea of having a new version of the
Duetto with which to celebrate.
Alfa Romeo is also targeting doubling sales and returning to
profitability that year as part of an ambitious restructuring
programme that Fiat has set for all its car brands, including
Maserati and Lancia.
Alfa Romeo has been losing money for years because of a
reputation for faulty mechanics and poor customer service -
something which Baravalle is trying to reverse with a major
overhaul of the premium brand.
Encouraged by the success that BMW has had in reviving the
Mini, Fiat is trying its luck with another old model: the
Cinquecento, which means 500 in Italian.
In July, it came out with a revised version of the tiny car
that came to symbolize Italy's economic miracle of the 1950s and
1960s when families living on a modest income were able to
afford a car for the first time.